Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cookbooks a healthy pastime

A colleague of mine says she has dozens of cookbooks on cuisines from around the world. She collects cookbooks like art. And, during her spare time, she reads them. She has read all about Spanish cuisine. She knows a lot about international foods. She knows what gazpacho is and she knows what baklava is; so, no food is Greek to her, although she doesn’t cook a whole lot. She doesn’t try all the recipes in those books.

I, on the other hand, love to try recipes in cookbooks that I have. I like to replicate an Italian dinner, for instance, in my home. And, I have learned to cook from books. I have learned even Bengali cooking, something that is accessible in the family.

But, I have to admit, I do read cookbooks and food magazines during my leisure merely as a pastime. I love to read recipes and food history, and I love to gawk at those lavish photos, as people read fiction to pass the time. For me, consuming such books itself is a gastronomic delight.

How about you, dear reader? Do you have a lot of cookbooks? Do you merely collect them, read them or cook from them?


VegeYum @ A Life (Time) of Cooking said...

I read cookbooks like other people read novels.

sra said...

I've stopped collecting them as I seem to have one for every cuisine. Now I'm giving some away! They make great bedtime reading too!

Kamini said...

My recreational reading 90% of the time ends up being cookbooks. I too collect cookbooks. Bookshops are magnets but only towards the cookery section. I keep wondering how I can lose weight with food always on my mind..:)

Srivalli said...

Hah..cook books are so engaging..its fun reading them..

Stuart Ian Burns said...

Hope you don't mind me leaving a comment like this, but I can't seem to find an email address.

Every December on my own blog ( there is a review of the year and I was wondering, because you're such a great writer and assuming you had the time, if you'd like to contribute something for this year's review.

Here is some background. It’s the fifth anniversary of these reviews and each year they’ve become more ambitious and interesting. Last year, over thirty people were kind enough to send in questions which I was happy to answer on vast range of subjects ( and in 2005, people to described a moment when they succeeded in doing something they've always wanted to do that year, which led some amazing writing on topics as diverse as getting a book published, karoke, visiting Ireland and New York, being invisible and having a baby (

This year's review is about home.

I’m asking people to write about what they thought was the most significant thing to have happened in the place where they live. It could be something that has effected an entire city or town or village or just your street and it might be something whose effect only you seem to have noticed or everyone you know was talking about and even the rest of the world. The important thing is that you give it a local slant and how it felt to someone who actually lives there making the rest of us understand what it was like.

Wherever we’re living and working is the centre of our own universe and that we are actually looking out at that universe through the windows and screens that are there but the look isn’t often returned. I realised it would be far more interesting to offer people the chance to make the world look at the place where they live and what happened to it this year, hopefully producing a review of the tear which is both global and local, that stretches from El Paso to Baltimore to Freiburg to Brighton to my home town of Liverpool.

I do hope you'll be able to contribute if just a couple of hundred words but longer would be fabulous. I'm hoping to get everything in by the end of November and there will be a prize for any that are shown (or at the very least a link back to your website or latest project).

I look forward to hearing from you,

Take care,